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Garage Expo | September 19, 2017

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Call to ban intensive driving courses and reduce accidents

Call to ban intensive driving courses and reduce accidents
Article by: Martin Scholes on 2014-06-12

Call to ban get-your-licence-in-a-week driving schools creating breeding grounds for dangerous drivers and follow successful US model.

Driving schools offering intensive courses promising a successful driving test within a week are churning out drivers with little road sense and should be banned.

That’s the view of a major UK car leasing company that says the minimum time between first lesson and taking the practical driving test should be at least three months.

Flexed.co.uk also believes that road sense should be taught in schools, much like the American model where “driver’s ed” classes give pupils a grounding in the basics before they are allowed onto public roads.

“Intensive driving courses are very good at churning out people who can answer exam questions and do the practical test requirements like a robot,” said Flexed.co.uk spokesman Mark Hall, “But there’s no substitute for actual on-the-road experience.

“Five days behind the wheel on a £500 course just isn’t enough.

“Even the best drivers say they’re learning all the time, and it frightens us to think that the driver in the car in front could only have a week’s experience.”

The biggest risk is among teenagers looking for a quick driving test pass after having received their first provisional licence. One fifth of road accidents resulting in death or injury involve drivers aged under 24, government statistics show.

“We applaud a recent announcement that a minimum learning period is under consideration,” says Hall, “but that needs to be put into place now rather than later.”

Flexed.co.uk also wants to see road safety taught in schools, much like American driver’s ed classes. While it may not be practical to offer pupils actual driving lessons, classes and computerised simulators would give British teenagers an idea of what to expect when they get behind the wheel of a car.

“There’s also the old-school solution of the cycling proficiency test,” says Flexed.co.uk ‘s Hall. “We’re old enough to remember a time when these were virtually universal in primary and secondary schools, but they died out as the car took over family life.”

With fewer children riding bicycles to school, most of these classes have been ditched, and the replacement ‘Bikeability’ scheme isn’t as widespread as it could be. However, these lessons teach youngsters vital road sense and courtesy and could prove a perfect grounding for the day they step up to driving lessons.

“Learning to drive should be a process over months or years, building up road sense and good practice,” said Hall, “It shouldn’t be a headlong rush to get a slip of paper that says you’re good at passing exams.”

Flexed.co.uk say that intensive driving courses are simply the wrong thing to offer on Britain’s increasingly congested roads.

“Experience is everything in driving. These courses should be stopped, and stopped now.”